I’m not quite sure how this collection began. I’m not quite sure why it began. I’m not quite sure when and where it began. But somehow during my travels, I started to collect what I call “junk” jewelry. Actually, maybe it began because I wanted some small souvenirs from my travels that would fit in my backpack, without taking up a lot of space or weighing much. And, well, this stuff didn’t even need to fit in my backpack; instead I just wore it on a finger, a wrist, or around my neck.
Since I started this collection, I haven’t stopped, and now I try to buy some memory that I can wear from everywhere I travel. Sometimes it has been one piece of jewelry representing an entire country. Other times, I have collected something in each city that I was visiting during a particular trip. I must say that it actually has become quite fun to shop around for my perfect piece of “junk” jewelry.
When I look at my collection now, sometimes I wonder just what I was thinking when I bought something, as there were times when I must have picked the gaudiest item around. Like the big dark pink bracelet I bought in Venice, Italy – although, it does have its own appeal. Or the gold-wire-looped ring I bought in some other European city. On the other hand (no pun intended), I have also purchased other pieces that are actually really quite nice.
The most exquisite piece I bought was in Paris. Prior to my trip, my sister had shopped at a store, called Metal Pointus, that sells unique jewelry made out of metal. I purchased a bracelet that is truly a conversation piece. Ironically, my sister had purchased the matching ring years earlier, and when I returned home, she gave me her ring, so now I have a complete set! (Thanks, sis.)
I try to buy my jewelry mostly at local outdoor markets, flea markets, festivals or fairs, in order to get something locally made, individually made, and handcrafted by a local artist. One of my favorite pieces was purchased in Copenhagen at an outdoor Art Market. This bracelet was hand-made using stones and reed from the Amazon, and I love it! Truly a sample of art.
Here are some other “junk” jewelry stories: When I was living in Australia, I actually made my own matching pink bracelet and necklace set. I bought pieces made out of amber in the Baltic Sea. (Please read a previous blog about this.) I purchased a ring made out of wood, specifically Siberian Birch, which I bought at a local festival in my own neighborhood. The purple-beaded, bent-metal bracelet came from an outdoor market in Brussels, which is another piece that I consider a sample of art. Finally, the necklace with the red stones was given to me by a special stranger, while I was in Cappadocia, Turkey. (Again, please read a previous blog about this.)
All in all, whether I purchased some jewelry that was truly “junk,” whether it is something really nice to wear, whether I consider the piece to be a sample of art, or whether the piece is for sentimental value, I must say that collecting “junk” jewelry while I travel is a fun way to not only shop, but also a great way to experience the local flavor of a city, a country, a store or market, and a local artist.
Collecting “junk” jewelry is a great way to have a small souvenir that doesn’t even need to fit into a backpack, and brings back many memories each time I wear something.